2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Toyota Highlander Hybrid Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.3 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power 268 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 27/25 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

  • The 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is an excellent family SUV that accommodates the needs of most SUV buyers while delivering the benefits of hybrid technology.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Real-world gas mileage in the 20s, terrific acceleration, smooth ride, comfortable cabin with simple controls and solid materials.

  • Cons

    Extra weight results in so-so handling, engine can be noisy, poor access to third-row seat.

  • What's New for 2006

    New for 2006, the hybrid version of the Highlander pairs a gasoline-powered V6 with electric motors to improve fuel economy and acceleration.

Gas Mileage


  • 27
  • cty
  • 25
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Hybrid system breakdown!

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Great experience until 100,000 miles. All check ups done at dealership.100,000 miles warranty expires soon after car won't start.I bought a Toyota because they are meant to last.Took car to dealership and they announced it would be 8700 dollars to fix. The hybrid system does not work! CODES POAA6&526-614 and Warrantied only to 100,000 miles. I am at 119,000. I was told the labor on the part is minimal it is the part that is so expensive. I was shocked and then looked on the internet to find that others have found themselves in the same position.When I went to pick up the car at Toyota they charged me $250.00 for the diagnostic test and tried to sell me another Toyota. HA!!

Can't believe the costs of

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I have been a Toyota fan for 20 years until now. My 4 year old Highlander Hybrid just stopped cold on me. Now they are telling me it's the inverter and transaxle? Parts alone are $13,000, does not include labor. A car only 4 years old and the cost to fix it is as much as buying another car. Can't believe Toyota would price the parts to this car at an outrageous price. Off to buy another car and NOT A TOYOTA!!

Good all purpose green suv

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I bought my Hybrid Highlander when it had 10000 miles on it. I am a little disappointed with the gas mileage - 25-27 mpg. regardless of city or highway driving. Certainly that is better than the 17 mpg the previous minivan got, but I was expecting mid-30s. The blind spots are bigger for a shortie like me than I would expect from such an otherwise well-designed car. I drove a 2008 model though and that one is too big and the blind spots are worse- couldn't even see approaching cars at intersections due to the huge side mirrors. Also, this vehicle is very safe. I was rear ended by a drunk driver while I was stopped. The Highlander sustained rear end damage but my passenger and I were absolutely unhurt. We could feel my car absorb that huge impact.

Unexpected power in for a

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

My ONLY complaint is headroom for tall adults in the back and passenger seats. I am used to a truck with greater headroom. I have friends over 6'4 who found the more elevated passenger seat and back seat head clearence a little cramped. I often pulse and cruise - get 29-30mpg around town. It has better pickup than our accord and is quality wise the very best vehicle we have owned. Given, the Tundra WAS Alot more fun off road. I recommend vehicle. Oh one other minor flaw, sunroof and window noise is a problem when openned and you have to adjust them when exceeding 30 mph to stop a annoying wind vibration. Again minor when all the advantages of this vehicle are considered.

Good family car

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

The Highlander is a good family car without having to drive a mini van. 3rd row seat comes in handy with young children. I prefer this body style to the new one. I bought the hybrid hoping for decent gas mileage. I have been very disappointed in this regard. I might get 20 mpg on a good week. It does have a lot of power. No mechanical issues to date. I would recommend the car if you like the styling. The JBL sound system isn't that great. I would get an after market stereo.

Effortless power, decent mpg, comfort!

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Vehicle: 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

First things first: THH is a rocket. Acceleration is amazing and it does without major effort. Bought it used with about 10k miles and have 15k now. At this point, I would not change it for any car in the market, including the new THH, which is bigger and wider (Toyota, why?). Ride is soft (maybe not the softest but after CRV, it's like gliding). Exterior is very modest, interior is much better. My wife calls it a granma car on the outside. I actually like it that way. Very subtle, yet very powerful. My friends can't stop smiling at the silence when THH runs on the electric. Big fan of this car. Thank God, no problems, only scheduled maintenance. MPG is ok, esp given the power.


Full 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Review

What's New for 2006

New for 2006, the hybrid version of the Highlander pairs a gasoline-powered V6 with electric motors to improve fuel economy and acceleration.


Hybrids are certainly not new -- the first Honda Insights and Toyota Priuses rolled into dealerships over five years ago. But the 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the one that will put the term "hybrid" on the lips of average Americans. As revolutionary as cars like the Insight were, many people need more than two or even five seats. And that's where the Highlander comes in.

As the first seven-passenger hybrid vehicle Toyota's alternative-powered SUV is revolutionary in its own quiet kind of way. Automakers have finally figured out that the key to mass hybrid sales is not necessarily stellar fuel economy. Given the price premium paid for most hybrids, vehicles like the Lexus RX 400h and Honda Accord Hybrid offer more luxury features and extra power. And the Toyota Highlander is no different. The "conserving resources" aspect of the Highlander Hybrid intentionally plays second banana to more important features like extra power and standard third-row seating.

Does the Toyota Highlander Hybrid get better fuel economy than your average V6-powered SUV? Sure, it's rated 31 mpg/27 mpg highway. But it's the added snap of 268 hp that really get this Highlander recognized. The gas-electric Highlander also offers a few extra touches such as standard LED taillights and unique 17-inch wheels. Foglights, a rear roof spoiler and a JBL stereo are options. The Limited version is even more luxurious, as it's loaded up with every possible feature save for an optional DVD-based navigation system. But with that touchscreen nav system, you'll also have the added entertainment of a power flow chart and fuel economy meter like that found in the Prius.

Front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions are available, though the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is intended for pavement duty. Toyota calls the all-wheel-drive system 4WD-i. It is an on-demand system that improves traction on wet and dry pavement and is capable of regenerating power from all four wheels. The system is unique in that it uses a rear-mounted motor/generator to power the rear wheels when wheel slip is detected in the front. The 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is remarkable in that it doesn't force you to make uncomfortable compromises to stand up for the planet. Thanks, in part, to its conservative styling and simple, comfortable interior, this hybrid should make the move into the high-tech age painless for the typical family car buyer.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is offered in base and Limited trim levels. The base model is nicely equipped with seven-passenger seating, cloth upholstery, a power driver seat, ABS, stability control, a six-speaker CD stereo and 17-inch alloy wheels. The lone option package for the base model includes a sunroof, an upgraded JBL stereo with a CD changer and foglights. The Limited comes with all of the above, as well as leather upholstery, wood grain interior trim, automatic climate control and a power front-passenger seat. A navigation system is the only option on the Limited.

Powertrains and Performance

To make the hybrid version, Toyota started with the 3.3-liter V6 in the standard Highlander, recalibrated it for duty in a hybrid and installed two electric motors. One of the motors is responsible for starting the gas engine and recharging the 288-volt battery pack. The other teams up with the V6 to drive the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission. All-wheel-drive models get a third motor that can juice the rear wheels when extra power or traction is needed; Toyota calls this setup 4WD-i. The gas-electric power plant makes a combined 268 horsepower. Fuel economy is 33 mpg city/28 mpg highway on front-drive (2WD) models and 31/27 on all-wheel-drive models. Towing capacity is 3,500 pounds.


Front-seat side airbags and first- and second-row head curtain airbags are standard on all Toyota Highlander Hybrid models. Also standard are four-wheel antilock disc brakes, ABS with BrakeAssist and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, traction control, stability control. These safety systems are part of Toyota's new integrated safety system that coordinates all the vehicle's safety features to assure maximum accident avoidance capability and protection should an accident occur.

Interior Design and Special Features

The interior of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is essentially identical to that of the gasoline-only version. A thoughtful cabin design puts all the controls and storage areas within easy reach. Comfortable seating in the first and second rows and a total of 10 cupholders make the Highlander Hybrid a natural for family transportation. The second-row seat's lack of a flip-and-fold mechanism makes the third row tougher to access than most, but this is still the only hybrid that seats seven.

Driving Impressions

The standard Toyota Highlander has a light and somewhat "tossable" nature but the added weight of the hybrid version gives it a more cumbersome feel around tight turns. It's still easy to maneuver in the city, though, and as smooth as they come on the highway. Acceleration is excellent at any speed, thanks to the electric motor assist.


Talk About The 2006 Highlander Hybrid

2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Discussions See all Started By

I bought the HH new, have taken good care of it, have 72,000 miles without any problems. Toyota says that after 90,000 miles or 6 years I should get my timing belt changed. Is there anybody out ther?...

Toyota Recalls 235,000 Vehicles in U.S., Including 2006-'10 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Toyota is recalling approximately 235,000 vehicles in the U.S., including the 2006-'10 Toyota Highlander Hybrid and...

reports of similar failures on both the 2006 Highlander Hybrid as well as the 2006 Lexus 400h hybrid SUV. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into ...

Read more about the 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

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